Practise makes progress

The last fortnight has been filled with practise, practise, practise in lots of different areas of life. From riding downhill mountain bikes with Ro and Olly to recruiting some talented young interns for This Mum Runs (TMR).

Sunny day in the woods with my boys, practising to make progress!

I was blown away by the 60 odd applications for our internships at TMR, I had zooms (new word for conversation I reckon) with 10 incredible young people who were totally open to learning and supporting our community. I learned a lot about young people along the way and we found our two shining stars; they started today. Boom!

It’s always such a buzz to work with young people, they see things differently and haven’t become cynical about life. Something I am trying to emulate even though I am ‘VERY OLD’ as my son’s friend told me this week. The obvious answer to that comment was to challenge him to a running race and kick his 9 year old butt. Which I did, obvs.

I nearly died, he was embarrassed….a great outcome for everyone I think you will agree.

We ended up going for a wild swim with the defeated 9 year old (could say LOSER, but that seems harsh) later in the week where he challenged us to front flip and bombing competitions. So much fun but also quite scary when you have a dodgy knee and a fear of fish that you can’t see. Chuck me in the sea in scuba gear with sharks as long as I can see them….but I hate the unknown threat of a ‘killer trout’ that I can’t see.

Ro and his friend were so brave in the water, jumping in, swimming upstream and then floating calmly on their backs back down. This wouldn’t have been the case a few years ago but it shows that sometimes a little practise and perseverance is a blinkin good thing…..as long as you can bear the whinging and general misery it can bring along the way.

This turned out to be the week that Ro and I coined the phrase, ‘Practise makes progress’. I am sure other, far more intelligent people have already thought of this phrase, but Ro and I are claiming it for ourselves. We DO NOT like the phrase ‘practise makes perfect’, as perfection is so different for everyone or indeed probably doesn’t exist at all.

I was blown away by how much this phrase changed Ro’s approach to things and the fact that he used this phrase with me when I was writing. Whilst I was reading chapter 3 of the book out to him last week (I will come on to that exciting fact later) I commented that it still needed some work. He said, “Practise makes progress Mummy, maybe you can edit it next week and see how it sounds?’

I am sorry, you say WHAT?

All my parenting dreams came true. He didn’t take the p!$$ of my somewhat shoddy writing technique, he didn’t give me the face that say’s, ‘Mum, you are embarrassing’ and he said I should try again.

What a guy. He can now watch Youtube for 3 weeks as my parenting work here is clearly done 🙂 Maybe it’s the fact that we coined the phrase together that worked for Ro, rather than being ‘told’ something….hmmmm, food for thought there people.

So, onto writing chapter 3 and indeed chapter 4. Wooohooo! Chapter 3 was last week’s effort after riding bikes with my boys in the woods and trying to jump higher on our bikes than before. By higher I mean 10 inches instead of 5 btw. I have been a proper cautious rider since having Ro; the thought of hurting myself and not being able to look after him or of looking like a total moron in front of others is a new feeling for me since he was born. I am trying really hard to work on this.

Pushing myself physically and mentally last week made me feel calm and relaxed (mainly because I had survived certain death on the super massive jumps of doom) and it spurred me on to write chapter 3.

This weekend I had an absolute corker. Sadly Ro was with his dad for the weekend, so I used my time wisely, didn’t work for once and on Saturday, went for a SUP adventure with my INCREDIBLE friend Jane who runs the ‘Amazing Women Leaders’ program that I am taking part in. Jane asked me a very pertinent question (as is standard with Jane). When do you find you are most productive with your writing? I pondered this and worked out it is usually after an adventure or some sort of adrenaline fuelled activity.

Bob’s your uncle, chapter 4 was started after another death defying bike session with Olly on Sunday. I crashed; obviously in front of about 10 riders (men) on the side of the track. They were non-patronisingly nice to me, which I really appreciated bless them. Alongside the crash, I also got down some quite technical track (technical for me anyway) and I was thrilled to be alive. We banged on some 80’s power ballads on the way home in the car, Olly can do a brilliant rendition of Whitney Houston it turns out, and the beginnings of chapter 4 were born. BOOOOOOM.

Things I have LOVED this fortnight: Wild Swimming, SUP with my mate, jumping bikes with my boys, writing, being a total kick ass legendary parent (first time for everything hey?) and meeting some brilliant young people for TMR.

Things I haven’t loved this fortnight: Crashing on my bike, killer trout, being called “VERY OLD’ and my ever increasing inability to spell (when handwriting instead of typing).

Some book recommendations for you – this time, kid’s books.
  • The Story Cure – A treasure trove of advice that points you in the direction of amazing kid’s books for any child’s needs. Be it dinosaurs, horses, sexuality or bullying! I used this book to find some great texts to link to pride this month – books about sexuality and how children may feel about that. The Story Cure is by the brilliant Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin
  • The Journey – A beautifully illustrated book for children about the journey of a refugee. As the New York Times put it, “. . . a wonderful teaching tool for those who are welcoming refugees into their community.” I couldn’t agree more and it’s universally written so isn’t specific to a particular country and it’s refugee journey. The Journey is by the Italian illustrator and Graphic designer, Francesca Sanna.
  • Fox and Goldfish – A heartwarming and emotional story about friendship, grief and loss told through amazing illustrations and a few, well chosen words. I used this in an enquiry for Venturers academy specialist provision school. It works brilliantly with primary aged children. Published by a local Bristol publisher, ‘Book Island’ it can be found here. Fox and Goldfish is written by Nils Pieters.
  • Tree – A magical and tactile book; the pages ask to be touched and the illustrations entice you to keep discovering more in their multi layered glory. Explore the beauty of the changing seasons in this peek-through board book with beautiful artwork from Britta Teckentrup and accompanying rhyming text by Patricia Hegarty. I used Tree in the curriculum around the changing seasons at a local Bristol school.

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